✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live
SPONSOR AD

We, the rumour-mongers are in good company

By now, almost every alive and aware Nigerian, has heard that the road newly-named after Nigerian Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka was not at the…

By now, almost every alive and aware Nigerian, has heard that the road newly-named after Nigerian Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka was not at the expense of the one earlier named after former Head of State General Murtala Mohammed.

This was made possible through a widely-circulated press release from the office of the Minister of Information Malam Muhammad Idris and signed by his media aide Rabiu Ibrahim.

Needless to say, I was one of the rumour mongers and purveyors of misinformation alluded to, in the press release, because my column of last week was on the same topic.

The very day my column was published was exactly a week since the news broke that the newly-named road was in fact Murtala Mohammed Expressway renamed. When I read the story a week earlier, I spent the next six days waiting for a denial from the relevant authorities or a protest from those who felt the legacy of the former military ruler was being effaced. But I heard no such news. So I sat down to write my piece. But before doing that, I again searched the news item to see whether anything had happened to counter it and saw no refutal of what I’d read earlier.
These are the three news sources I checked before reaching for my keyboard last week.

The first is from Blueprint newspaper’s online edition, Blueprint.ng
“Why I named Abuja road after Wole Soyinka – Tinubu
June 5, 2024 – by Abdullahi Muhammad
President Bola Tinubu has named the full-scope Arterial road N20 from Northern Parkway to the Outer Northern Expressway, (otherwise called the Murtala Mohammed Expressway), as the Wole Soyinka Way.

The President disclosed this at the inauguration of the road in Abuja on Tuesday, where he described the 89-year-old playwright as a foremost playwright who has brought international acclaim, to Nigeria, while appreciating the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, for the recommendation.
He said: “Let me say here that your momentous recommendation to name this road Wole Soyinka Way is well received. He is our foremost playwright, novelist, and Nobel prize winner, who has brought Nigeria fame and pride of international acclaim. Thank you for thinking that way, we all accept your recommendation on behalf of the people and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Professor Wole Soyinka has brought immense honour and fame to Nigeria through his unparalleled contributions to literature and his unwavering commitment to human rights and social justice.

“Naming this highway after him is a fitting tribute to a man who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of truth, freedom, and artistic excellence.”
The inauguration of the Wole Soyinka Way is the fifth project inaugurated by President Tinubu, as part of events to mark his administration’s first year in office.

Other projects commissioned include the Southern Parkway, renamed the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Way, the Abuja Rail Mass Transit, otherwise known as the Metro Rail, and the Outer Southern Parkway, renamed the Mahamadou Issoufou Way…….”

Why I named Abuja road after Wole Soyinka – Tinubu 


The second source I read was a news item from OGTV Ogun State television, which lifted story from The Nation newspaper and gave it the credit at the end.

June 5
Tinubu names Abuja expressway after Wole Soyinka
ogtv
President Bola Tinubu has approved the naming of the full-scope Arterial road N20 from Northern Parkway to the Outer Northern Expressway (otherwise called the Murtala Mohammed Expressway), as the Wole Soyinka Way.
The president stated this during his address at the inauguration of the road in Abuja on Tuesday, June 4, where he described the 89-year-old playwright as a foremost playwright who has brought international acclaim to Nigeria, while appreciating the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, for the recommendation.

“Let me say here that your momentous recommendation to name this road Wole Soyinka Way is well received. He is our foremost playwright, novelist, and Nobel prize winner, who has brought Nigeria fame and pride of international acclaim. Thank you for thinking that way, we all accept your recommendation on behalf of the people and the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, the President said.

Tinubu while commending Wike said he has proven his critics wrong.
The Nation reports that the inauguration of the Wole Soyinka Way is the fifth project inaugurated by President Tinubu, as part of events to mark his administration’s first year in office.
Other projects commissioned include the Southern Parkway, renamed the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Way, the Abuja Rail Mass Transit, otherwise known as the Metro Rail, and the Outer Southern Parkway, renamed the Mahamadou Issoufou Way, among others.

<<The Nation>>
Tinubu names Abuja expressway after Wole Soyinka – OGUN STATE TELEVISION (ogtv.com.ng)
The third news item I read before writing my piece was from Premium Times online newspaper.
“16 years after, Nigerian govt names another major road after Wole Soyinka….”
By Emmanuel Agbo
June 6, 2024
Tuesday’s renaming of the Arterial Road N20 in Abuja after the Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, was the second street named after him in the federal capital city.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, announced the renaming of Arterial Road N20 after the literary giant during the inauguration of the road by President Bola Tinubu.
The president, while commissioning the road, approved the recommendation by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to rename the road, saying the gesture was a testament to Mr Soyinka’s enduring legacy and his contribution to Nigeria and global culture.

“Your recommendation to name this road as Wole Soyinka Way is well received. He is our foremost playwright, novelist, and Nobel prize winner, who has brought Nigeria a pride of international acclaim.
“This gesture is a testament to the enduring legacy of Wole Soyinka and his contributions to Nigerian and global culture. We all accept your recommendation on behalf of the people and the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” President Tinubu said.
Arterial Road N20 is one of the transverse arterial roads connecting the Outer Northern Expressway (ONEX) and the Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX) through the sector centres.

Second-time honour
The honour comes 16 years after a street in the Gwarinpa Estate was named after the distinguished professor, writer and cultural icon, who was the first African to win the Nobel Prize in literature.
In October 2008, the then Minister of FCT, Aliyu Modibbo, renamed a major street in the estate, as “Wole Soyinka Avenue.”

At the time, the literary giant was honoured alongside 81 other eminent Nigerians.

Mr Modibbo announced the new names at Nigeria’s 48th independence anniversary in honour of Nigerians and foreigners who contributed immensely to the development of the country.
He criticised past military administrations for “inappropriate” naming of most streets after past military governors and colonial masters.
There are, however, indications that the current Tinubu administration was not aware of the existence of Wole Soyinka Avenue…..

www.premiumtimesng.com
As you might have noticed, Premium Times did not say the name has been changed from Murtala Mohammed to Wole Soyinka but it did say the road was renamed. To be renamed you had to have another name before and the report did say it was the second road named after the famous playwright; a fact I mentioned in my piece of last week.

Now I took the trouble to reproduce the above news stories to show that I didn’t write my column based on what was a figment of my imagination, but based on what was published in well-known media outlets.

Incidentally, Blueprint is a newspaper whose Chairman is the current minister of information while The Nation, as we all know, is owned by our President and Commander-in-Chief, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

So surely to be purveyor of falsehood, alongside media houses owned by the President and his information Minister is certainly to be in good company.
However the question must he asked. How did these media houses escape being noticed, one week after they published what the Minister of information’s media aide called a rumour and a figment of their imagination?

Until I wrote about it and the younger sister to Late Murtala Mohammed, Hajiya Balaraba Ramat responded with the family position, then the Northern Elders Forum also protested what was an obvious slight on the memory of the late General, no one seemed to notice the misinformation published by Blueprint and The Nation.

Can it be that the story was true and only the protest against the name-change is making them recant? If not why wait all this time before saying the President or the FCT Minister had been misrepresented?

Or is it a case nobody noticing the stories until my column of last week brought it to light? If this is the case then it is an unpardonable sin.

I mean what are the 1001 media aides in the presidency, at the FCT Minister’s office and the information minister’s office being paid for, if they can’t do a daily press review and see what is being said or published about their principals?
Are all the guys answering SA media this-and-that so oblivious to the happenings around them that they can’t detect a false news item and respond to it, until a damage is done, then they accuse others of falsehood?
For sure, more questions are raised by this road renaming incident than answers. But one thing I know is that if I am labelled a rumour-monger and a purveyor of misinformation, I am certainly in the good company of the President’s newspaper and the one headed by his information minister because I quoted them.

 

Join Daily Trust WhatsApp Community For Quick Access To News and Happenings Around You.

Do you need your monthly pay in US Dollars? Acquire premium domains for as low as $1500 and have it resold for as much as $17,000 (₦27 million).


Click here to see how Nigerians are making it.